It’s not only brilliant; but it’s also the subject of the most folklore beginning with the Ancient Greeks and continuing to this very day. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is also one of the closest stars to the sun-a mere 8.6 light-years away. It’s not just one star. Sirius is a binary star-two stars so close together that they look like one.
Apart from its astronomical qualities, though Sirius has long been the subject of myth and folklore. Sirius is called the Dog Star because it is the most vivid star in the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog constellation. The Ancient Greeks believed that Sirius heralded the hot and dry summer-known as the Dog Days of summer.
Because of its intense radiance, the Ancient Greeks thought Sirius was sending out rays or “emanations” that caused people to act strangely. Those suffering from its effects were said to be “star struck.”
The Greeks of the island of Ceos offered sacrifices to Sirius to bring cooling breezes. They awaited the appearance of the star in the summer. If the star looked clear, they believed good fortune was coming. But if it looked misty of faint, they feared pestilence in their crops.
The Ancient Romans also honored Sirius. They celebrated its setting on April 25th with the sacrifice of a dog to the goddess Robigo so that the star’s rays would not harm the wheat crop.
Even today the star is still capturing our imaginations. Author J.K. Rowling, creator of the famed Harry Potter stories, gave Harry’s godfather the name Sirius and the animal form he changes into is a big black dog. Today of course astronomers and scientists see these legends as quaint artifacts from the past. We don’t deal in myths and superstitions. That’s especially true when it comes to safety on the job.
Safety professionals create specific rules and procedures to keep us out of harm’s way. It’s up to us to follow them and to take personal responsibility for staying alert on the job all day, every day. That’s how we create a culture of safety company wide that helps ensure the well-being of every worker. There’s nothing mysterious about it.
While the folklore of Sirius is fun to explore, when it comes to safety we’re all business. Serious about safety is just plain smart.
WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT SAFETY ARE YOU?
*COPYRIGHT 2008 HARKINS SAFETY B250